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Book Reviews Steven Joyce's "The Ice Age Cometh: A Major Emendation of Buoyant Billions in Critical Perspective" uses an eclectic approach to study Shaw's revised opening of the play, applying "structuralist criticism, speech-act theory, and thematic analysis" in order to show the effects Shaw achieved chiefly by excision. Though the essay is necessarily strewn with the underbrush of critical jargon, Joyce's analysis convincingly demonstrates not only that Shaw improved his play, which we might have expected, but also how the segment under consideration works—both before and after his changes. Sally Peters's "Shaw's Double Dethroned: The Dark Lady of the Sonnets, Cymbeline Refinished, and Shakes Versus Shaw" devotes most space to the latter, a ten-minute puppet play. She attempts to derive autobiographical elements from the plays, stating that "Chronologically , [these plays] increasingly reveal Shakespeare to function for Shaw as a darker self and to haunt him as an omnipresent father." Sadly, however, Shaw is "unaware of the significance of all he reveals" in them. The volume concludes with two sets of valuable scholarly tools: Charles A. Carpenter's "Studies of Shaw's Neglected Plays and MiniPlays ," annotated citations keyed to the plays referred to in this volume, and John R. Pfeiffer's ongoing work, "A Continuing Checklist of Shaviana." The former is a felicitous addition to this volume, with its handy references to other materials on these topics. Also appearing herein is Leon Hugo's review of Granville Barker and His Correspondents : A Selection of Letters by Him and to Him. Considerable unevenness is to be expected from theme-oriented collections like this, and almost inevitably there is a "written to order" quality about such assortments. Nonetheless, the many fine points of this work more than make up for its few deficiencies, and its inclusion is clearly indicated for the library holdings of a university collection. Carl Markgraf Portland State University Shaw Offstage Fred D. Crawford, ed. Shaw: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies. The Nondramatic Writings, 9. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1989. 235 pp. $25.00 IN ALTERNATE YEARS, the Shaw annual is devoted to a specific topic or theme: this year, editor Fred Crawford subtitles the volume 487 ELT: Volume 33:4 1990 "Shaw Offstage: The Nondramatic Writings." As Crawford suggests in his introduction, the first response of many readers will be that such a subtitle is something of an oxymoron: the vigor of Shaw's personality always seems to place him "onstage." Yet, as the volume demonstrates , Shaw's nondramatic writings show considerable range and experimentation. Crawford has selected essays that examine Shaw's attempts in other literary genres (including verse, the short story, and travel writing), as well as essays which argue for connections between Shaw's philosophical and political writing and the plays. Shaw 9 is consistent with its predecessors in offering an excellent balance of primary materials and historical-critical interpretations. The texts by Shaw are of particular interest, as they reveal the writer working in unexpected areas. "The Best Books for Children" depicts the critic as pedagogue, recommending such disparate works as Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress and The Arabian Nights as inspiration for the intellect and the imagination. Contemporary readers may be surprised by the implicit sexism of Shaw's lists; he divides his titles between books "For a Child" and those "For a Boy": girls apparently stop reading at adolescence. Ray Bradbury introduces "Best Books." His observations, while unobjectionable, are neither enlightening nor penetrating. Crawford offers considerably more illumination in his presentation of Shaw's contribution to the many-authored novel The Salt of the Earth, discussing both the origins of Shaw's participation in the project and his subsequent disavowal of it. Crawford includes Chapter XVII, most of which was written by Shaw, and two others in which Crawford believes Shaw seems to have taken some part: the availability of contrasting selections will be of considerable use to stylists, who can compare Shaw the individual to Shaw the collaborator . Other original texts include the essay "Civilization and the Soldier," published here for the first time in the United States, and "Orkney and Shetland," a travel guide Shaw wrote for the Royal...


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pp. 487-491
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Will Be Archived 2021
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